Morning Ed: Sports {2018.09.19.W}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    SP5: Makes me kinda glad Bug doesn’t seem to like team sports.Report

  2. Avatar aaron david says:

    Sp2 – If you want to “save” baseball, don’t change the park size or try any other cockamamie scheme. That just leads to Blirnsball. No, what you do is stop paying attention to the majors. Start going to college games or minor league and local games. Enjoy the errors, the missed chances, the iffy refs. See that it is just a game and best played for fun.Report

  3. Avatar pillsy says:

    Apparently the CIA collected Soviet jokes during the Gorbachev years, and some of them are pretty great.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Sp2: Bigger outfields will change the game, but it’s not clear that it will fix all of the things that Connolly complains about. Coors Field has an enormous outfield, largest in the Majors. That and the humidor have largely fixed the home run problem. But Coors Field is consistently near the very top of the lists of ballparks for hits, extra-base hits, runs, and length of game. Everywhere will be like the old joke about Coors Field: What do you call a 6-5 score at Coors Field? A pitchers’ duel. And the average length of game will go well past three hours. If he wants to offset the great improvement in hitters that he sees, raise the top of the strike zone by three inches. Which would have the added benefit of costing nothing (unlike rebuilding the ballparks) and being easily reversed after a few years if it doesn’t work out.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      That’s a really good point and since the author introduces pace-of-play early in his article, that’s a shame on him sort of thing.

      However, I think the real point of the article is the Three True Outcome growth in the past 10-yrs or so… witch this year is projected to hit 34% of all plate appearances resulting in either a Walk, Strikeout or Homer… and trending sharply upwards – though where the next natural plateau will occur I’m not sure… 35%? 40%? 50%?

      So from a pure pace of play argument, yes, we could shorten games by increasing strike-zones, but that would likely *increase* the TTO situation, and not, I think, address the “real” concern which isn’t pace of play, but boringness of play. Raising the strikezone would increase one of the TTO to the detriment of the other two (I’d wager)… how much so would determine whether TTO increases or stays the same with a rebalance in favor of SO’s – which this year might total more than hits. But if the goal isn’t *really* shorter games, but better games, then the thought process changes.

      So, IMO, the argument hinges on whether maximizing TTO is compelling baseball, and I’m not sure that’s an argument more than taste. On this matter of taste, I find myself mostly ok with the current percentage of TTO (34% vs, say, 28% or maybe 25% – I can’t find deadball era TTO) But I do notice the trend – and if it reached, say, 50%, I’m not sure whether I’d find the game more or less compelling. Perhaps my future enjoyment might even be correlated to time… 50% in 2hrs might be cool… 50% in 4 hrs might really be a lot of non-action… especially if HR’s are down and we’re mostly watching pitchers destroy hitters with high-strikes.

      So as much as I’d like to be a baseball curmudgeon, I’m not quite there; but, being a baseball fan I’ll admit to thinking that yes, maybe the players have outgrown the parks and the game itself is on a trajectory for long boring games with only Three True Outcomes.Report

  5. The first link in Sp9 is wrong.Report

  6. Sp2 can be argued with (as it is above), but it’s fun to read and describes the problem well, even if it’s over-confident about the proposed solution. Maybe the Federalist should switch to an all-sports format.

    It’s not over until it’s over. — Ben Domenech


  7. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Sp2: The analysis of the problem is pretty good, apart from imagining that these trends are new. (I am thinking about writing a piece on that topic.) The proposed solution is, well, let’s be kind and go with “impractical.” It seems to suggest that enlarging the outfield is a matter of having the grounds crew move the fence back over the winter. That’s not how modern ballparks are built.

    Fortunately, there is a solution. We can’t wave our hands and move all those fences. MLB can, however, wave its hand and change the ball. MLB could have a sit-down with its friends at Rawlings and have a ball next year that turns those hone runs two rows into the bleachers into fly outs on the warning track.

    Having the will to do this is another matter. Partly it is that there is a bunch of superstitious nonsense about the sanctity of the ball. Mostly it is that the fans love home runs. Or, as expressed by Greg Maddux, the Poet of the Mound, chicks dig the long ball. The problem is that the other, less desirable legs of the TTO triad come with the dingers. And while a deader ball would immediately reduce home runs, pitchers would take longer to adjust to the revised incentives. We would have fewer home runs while still keeping the strike outs. I doubt that MLB would have the will to ride this through until everyone adjusted their game.Report

  8. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Sp4: A sign of the times, and a good sign at that. It was irresponsible for them to field a team in the first place with that few players. At least they wised up and cut their losses. High school football programs are in decline. This trend will not stop any time soon.Report

  9. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Sp9 (second link) is close, except that they will tell you which you are, the day they release you. Look at a minor league team roster and notice how most of the players are the same age (with slightly different cohorts for pitchers and position players). There actually are three groups: prospects, guys who probably won’t make it but might surprise you, and guys who definitely aren’t going to make it. Everyone knows who the prospects are. The question is how to tell who is in which of the other two groups. Generally, so long as they keep advancing you up the minors with your age cohort, you are in the second group. Guys who are in the third group are cut loose at the end of the season to make room for someone in the second group. If there isn’t any plausible candidate for that slot, they might keep you in place. If you find yourself older than your teammates, this is a bad sign.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Sp4 – I thought schools of that size did the 8 man football thing, but that may be a regional (i.e. Texas & western Midwest) thing. (I’ve never lived in a place where it was a thing)Report

  11. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Or even six-man ball, in several Midwestern and Southern states. The outstate portion of the state where I went to high school had schools that played six-man ball. It was not unusual for a team to win the state championship two or three years in a row, as a single family’s three or four large athletic sons moved through high school. I knew a guy in college who had been the sixth man that made his high school team eligible. On offense he played center. IIRC, he described his job as “Snap the ball and fall down so I’m not in the way when the three big brothers start down the field.”

    According to Wikipedia, California has 108 eight-man football teams.

    (Misthreaded — should be attached to @kolohe ‘s comment.)Report